BEST FOOT FORWARD: J.M. Weston is getting into upcycling.
The French shoe brand is launching a secondhand offer on Wednesday at three boutiques in France and Japan: its flagship on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and its store on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, and its Aoyama unit in Tokyo.
Olivier Saillard, artistic, image and culture director of J.M. Weston, is marking the launch with a series of performances during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris at the Saint-Honoré boutique, which has received a vintage makeover for the occasion.
At the inaugural event on Tuesday, an eclectic group of male and female models paraded in one-off customized pairs, many of which had been christened with fictitious fashion monikers: Ralph Simons, Virginia Bloh/Virgile About, John des Garçons and Hedi Saint Dior, among others.
To a live piano soundtrack, Saillard recited Dadaist poems to present the shoes, which were perforated, paint-splattered and adorned with oversize tassels. Prices range from 900 euros for Saillard’s own Golf brogues to 5,500 euros for the Bartin Malanciaga shoe, which features a pompom made of tassels on the front.
Regular pairs will retail for roughly half their original price: 330 euros for a Moccasin 180 pair, and up to 1,850 euros for an alligator leather model.
Saillard said he got the idea for the Weston Vintage line from the company’s restoration workshop at its factory in Limoges, where the brand reconditions and repairs 10,000 pairs per year, and from visiting vintage stores in Japan, where the label’s secondhand shoes are highly prized.
“It took more than a year to get the project off the ground, and in the meantime, we could see a growing focus on sustainability and the environment, so we decided to bring it to market quickly,” he said. But he wasn’t personally enthused about wearing someone’s old shoes, so the recycled models have all been freshly lined.
Weston is putting on sale 300 pairs it has collected from customers over the last few months, and Saillard hopes the range will become a permanent line. “I would love to see a vintage rack in every one of our stores,” he said. “Even if people prefer to buy new shoes, they now know that at Weston, they can get them repaired.”